As reader Fava d'Aronne commented last week, it does seem like Europe gets all of the fun bikes, while many of them don't make it to our side of the globe. Luckily, that's about to change a bit.
Yamaha is bringing what the Europeans call the MT-07 to the United States, under the FZ-07 moniker. No joke, I have a countdown timer counting down the seconds until the press launch when I’ll get to ride one.
The FZ-09, released just last year, has done incredibly well, due to both its massive fun factor and low price tag. Yamaha says both of their new models — the Star Bolt and the FZ-09 — are sold out and that overall sales are up 17 percent in the past 12 months.
The FZ-09 is an incredibly fun motorcycle. With a curb weight of 414 pounds, 115 horsepower, and 64.5 foot-pounds of torque in one of the most incredible torque curves I’ve experienced, it’s an impressive package. At $7,990, it also has a pretty incredible price.
The FZ-07 should be more of the same, just skewed slightly toward less experienced riders and a lower price point. The FZ-07 features an all-new, 698cc engine making 74 horsepower and 50 foot-pounds of torque. Yamaha's given the parallel twin FZ-07 engine a 270-degree firing order, so it feels more like a V-twin.
After reports of fueling issues with the FZ-09, Yamaha promises improved smoothness with the FZ-07. This is most likely aided by the smaller engine size and lower power, but I would like to think they’ve made this a focus, because it’s my biggest problem with the FZ-09.
This isn’t a parts bin bike, or even just a half-assed attempt to slim down the FZ-09. The frame is all new, made of diamond-type, high-tensile steel. The LCD meter is new as well, and actually looks a bit more developed than the one on its big brother.
The FZ-07 will weigh 397 pounds full of fuel, 17 pounds lighter than the FZ-09. MSRP is $6,999 and it goes on sale in July. It will be available in red, white, and gray with a blue frame and wheels.
The most similar bike currently on the market is the Ducati Monster 696, which is slightly heavier, makes similar torque and slightly more horsepower, and costs $9,295. The KTM Duke 690 is in a similar class, though it’s 50 pounds lighter than the other two, and costs $8,999, but is powered by a large single.
While Yamaha says this bike is aimed at an entry-level market, I think it will also be satisfying for experienced riders. When I think “entry-level,” I think of bikes like the Honda 500 line, not sub-400-pound nakeds making 74 horsepower and 50 foot-pounds of torque. I can’t wait to get on one and report back about how this thing feels on the street.